Polaris 2011

Get To Know Your Short List

Austra- Feel It Break

If we’re only as good as the company we keep, then Austra was a guaranteed Polaris nominee from the start. Having already worked alongside Polaris alums Owen Pallett and Fucked Up, Katie Stelmanis- aka Austra, enters the 2011 short list on her own with Feel It Break.

A Toronto native, Katie joined the Canadian Children’s Opera at the age of 10.  She pursued an opera career until she saw her first punk show and decided to join a band.  After her stint in the riot-grrl group, Galaxy, Katie founded Austra (a Latvian goddess of light) with former bandmate Maya Postepski and ex-Spiral Beach bassist Dorian Wolf. On May 11 2011, they released their “electro-goth” debut, Feel It Break.

This album is as dark as it is ambient, drawing many comparisons to The Knife.  Katie’s voice is entrancing, with the intensity and vibrato of Florence + the Machine and the ghostliness of Portishead. Layers upon layers of percussion and chiming synths create the perfect reverb-soaked background.

Austra’s greatest competition this year is likely Braids, both of them bringing a different flavour of wailing-trance to the table. Who do you prefer? Take a listen.

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About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on August 14, 2011, in Sound Bites and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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